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Municipal Solid Waste

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MSW includes commercial and residential wastes generated in municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding industrial hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes.  It consists of household waste, wastes from hotels and restaurants, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets.

MSW Generation in India

As per estimates more than 55 million tons of MSW is generated in India per year; the yearly increase is estimated to be about 5%. It is estimated that solid waste generated in small, medium and large cities and towns in India is about 0.1 kg, 0.3 – 0.4 kg and 0.5 kg per capita per day respectively. The estimated annual increase in per capita waste generation is about 1.33 % per year.

Composition of MSW Generated in Indian Cities

In India, the biodegradable portion dominates the bulk of MSW. This is mainly due to food and yard waste. With rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing rapidly and its composition has been changing.

Classification of MSWComposition of MSW in India

MSW Management in India

A typical waste management system in India includes the following elements:

  • Waste generation and storage
  • Segregation, reuse, and recycling at the household level
  • Primary waste collection and transport to a transfer station or community bin
  • Street sweeping and cleaning of public places
  • Management of the transfer station or community bin
  • Secondary collection and transport to the waste disposal site
  • Waste disposal in landfills


In most of the Indian cities, the MSW collection, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal is carried out by the respective municipal corporations and the state governments enforce regulatory policies.

Note:  In most of the Indian cities open dumping is the common practice which is adversely affecting on environment and public health.

The  major stakeholders in the management of Municipal Solid Waste include: (a) Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) (b) Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) (c) Central and State Pollution Control Boards (d) Department of Urban Development  (e) State Level Nodal Agency  (f) Urban Local Bodies  (g) Private Formal and informal Sector.

In some cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad garbage disposal is done by Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). The private sector has been involved in door-to-door collection of solid waste, street sweeping (in a limited way), secondary storage and transportation and for treatment and disposal of waste.

Urban Local Bodies spend around Rs.500 to Rs.1500 per ton on solid waste management of which, 60-70% of the amount is on collection alone, 20% - 30% on transportation, but hardly any fund is spent on treatment and disposal of waste

Potential for Energy Generation from MSW

The total estimated potential for power from all MSW across India is about 1457 MW (2002). MNRE estimates the energy recovery potential from municipal solid wastes to be about 1500 MW and this could go up to 5,200 MW by 2017. These trends have made many state governments keen on tapping this source of energy.

Technological Routes for Energy Generation from MSW

Energy can be recovered from the organic fraction of waste (biodegradable as well as non- biodegradable) through thermo-chemical and biochemical methods.

To know more about the technological processes of energy generation from waste, Click Here


Classification of Waste

Urban Waste

Municipal Solid Waste


Fecal Sludge

Industrial Waste


India Waste to Energy